As cold, wet weather settles in across the region, it’s important for homeowners to have dependable heating systems. An HVAC system breaks down more frequently if you ignore regular maintenance. If you’ve skipped any of the following winter home maintenance checks, then it’s time to fix this mistake before you find yourself without heat when you need it the most:

Swap Out Air Filter

The filter/filters on your heating and cooling system are designed to keep dust, dirt, cobwebs and other debris from accumulating in the interior and blowing out of vents. Any buildup can cause dangerous overheating that damages parts and reduces the estimated system lifespan. Always replace filters regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific system and vacuum away any nearby debris. If you use vent grille/register filters as well, replace them following manufacturer’s guidelines or as soon as you start to notice a reduction in air quality or flow.

Hire a HVAC Professional

System parts also stop working correctly over time because of defects, natural wear and debris like mold colonies, insects and animal nests deep inside of the system or ducts where you can’t reach. Additionally, thermostats can stop working correctly and the system can cause a higher-than-normal electricity drain that results in higher bills and overheated or burning wires. Hire heating and cooling maintenance professionals from a trusted, local firm like Jon Wayne Heating & Air, for example, at least once a year to inspect, clean and repair your system so that it always works in a safe, optimal manner.

Inspect and Replace Caulk

Did you know that your system can overwork in winter because of hidden gaps around caulk at windows and doors? Everyone knows that sealing gaps is critical to prevent heat from easily exiting a home and cold wind from entering it, but many people fail to realize that caulk used in previous years eventually deteriorates and separates from surrounding surfaces. This caulk can look perfectly fine while still causing a major problem. If you can smell outside wood smoke or other odors or feel cold air, you likely have these types of hidden gaps somewhere. Run a finger over every bead of caulk to see if any strip moves and attempt to pinch the caulk to see if it easily pulls away from surfaces. Replace any old caulk as needed.

By performing these three types of maintenance in addition to other strategies, such as closing doors and vents in unused rooms and investing in door air leak draft stoppers, you can keep your home toasty warm all winter long. The time and money spent to perform preventative measures today also helps keep utility and fuel bills low.